A judge is chastising state regulators for their handling of the licensing process for pot shops, and says they can't mess with a group of 50 unlicensed businesses anymore.
If you haven't been following along: The state moved to regulate the medical marijuana industry all the way back in 2016, and has dragged its feet in issuing pot shop licenses in the years since. But instead of giving existing businesses leeway to operate while their licenses are pending, it tried to force them closed multiple times.
Many have called it unfair. Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello agrees.
Borello issued an order yesterday that will allow the dispensaries to operate until their license applications are considered by the state, MLive reports. The strongly worded ruling slammed Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs officials as “ill-equipped” to handle the licensing process in a timely way.
“At the outset, the Court notes that LARA’s entire method of handling license applications has been ‘apt to sudden change, freakish, or whimsical,’” Borrello wrote.
The state has been trying to hold unlicensed businesses to a licensing deadline since June 2018 but have been thwarted by court orders. Borrello has previously extended the deadline. The most recent attempt to enforce a deadline was brought forward by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who had proposed March 31.
Borrello said the changing compliance deadline has been a “bait-and-switch” for unlicensed pot shops, and has been changed without any regard for the status of their license applications.
“However, the state failed to provide any rationale for how the continuous setting of looming deadlines promotes a more regulated market.” Borrello wrote.